Eight quotes from Eskom on load-shedding, maintenance and cable theft

24 May 2020 - 14:08
By Cebelihle Bhengu
Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said the power utility is 'making very good progress in addressing the maintenance backlog'.
Image: REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said the power utility is 'making very good progress in addressing the maintenance backlog'.

Eskom executives on Thursday provided an update on the state of the power utility. They discussed issues including load-shedding and maintenance of power units. 

Here are critical points made by CEO Andre de Ruyter and COO Jan Oberholzer in eight telling quotes:

Maintenance - De Ruyter

“We have been able to do some short-term opportunity maintenance. We have a reliability maintenance programme which we have resourced from internal, mostly, and one external resource, and we are making very good progress in addressing the maintenance backlog.”

Restructuring - De Ruyter

“We have restructured our business and have established divisional boards using internal resources, and no new costs were incurred in setting up those new boards. We have taken steps to appoint managing directors and are running these businesses as separate businesses. They have their own income statements, and we're in the process of setting up appropriate balance sheets.”

Boosting staff morale - De Ruyter

“We're establishing a high-performance culture. It is no surprise that Eskom people have been through a lot in the past decade, and that has had an impact on their morale. I believe it is a huge asset for us to leverage off to deliver even better results.”

Progress - De Ruyter

“The generation plant is not as reliable and predictable as we would like it to be, and we need to improve our plant performance and reduce load-shedding. We have tackled initiatives to unlock additional capacity, approached the market with the assistance of the mineral resources and energy department, and the quality of coal has improved remarkably since we imposed strict quality control measures.”

Lower chances of load-shedding - Oberholzer

“Before we had lockdown, we forecast 31 days of stage 1 load-shedding. What has helped us during the past eight weeks was doing the urgent, short-term maintenance. When we ran the model again, we are now forecasting three days of stage 1 load-shedding over winter.”

Diesel - Oberholzer

“With the lockdown, we spent less money on burning diesel to run our gas turbines. We spent just over R20m in April. We had to run diesel [even with low demand] to deal with challenges in terms of network when we have low demand in the country.”

Network performance - Oberholzer

“Vandalism and theft of our transmission towers and stealing of cables within our substations is a challenge that is posing a significant impact on network performance.”

Koeberg unit - Jan Oberholzer

“We established a new, independent external body consisting of specialists in the nuclear environment worldwide. They audited Koeberg at the beginning of the year and reported that we are doing a tremendous job in terms of running it safely."